View Full Version : Getting started

05-26-2011, 09:49 PM
Alright guys, I've tossed around the idea of getting into fly tying for some time now and have finally decided to jump into it. I need your recommendations on what I need purchase to get started. What kind of vice, tools, materials, books, dvds ect. do you recommend? I dont want something cheap that I will regret buying but at the same time I dont want anything fancy..just something thats a good bang for my buck. I've heard some people say stay away from beginning kits and buy what you need separate. Anyways I'll stop rambling and let you guys guide me in a good direction.

05-27-2011, 08:29 AM

First, let me welcome you for expressing an interest in tying. Its a great hobby to supplement fly fishing. It will occupy your time during long cold winter nights when it is too miserable to go outside. And you can create your own designs to adapt to the water that you will be fishing.

You were given excellent advice to stay away from the "kits." Usually they have inexpensive vices, tools, and a small amount of supplies. You'll be upgrading that very soon, so don't spend your money on that.

Get a good vice from Renzetti, Dyna King, Regal, or Griffith. A high quality vice will last you a life time. Dr. Slick makes a tying tool kit that has all of the tools you will need to start out. Also, get a good bag to carry the stuff around with you in the field.

My vice is a Renzetti Traveler that I bought based upon Hugh Hartsell's recommendation, and LRO usually has them in stock

Of course, you'll need hooks, dubbing, thread, feathers, etc. And have an idea on what type of flies you want to start out with. There are numerous books that have instructions in them.

Since you live in TN, I would get Byron's or Daniel"s assistance in helping you to select what you need to get started. LRO's prices are competitive with other suppliers, so you might as well start with LRO.

Hugh Hartsell has excellent tying videos on his website, and I would encourage you to watch his videos. If you get in a difficult situation, Hugh will be glad to talk to you on the phone, and help you out.

And please post your questions on this Forum, there are a lot of people willing to help you!

Have fun


05-27-2011, 08:41 AM
As far as vise's, there are a million on the market. Spend $100+ and get a reputable brand. I have a renzetti traveler and have been happy with it.

For tools to start with, get a bobbin, some good scissors, whip finisher, & maybe a hair stacker.

The materials I find myself using most often for trout flies are:
Hooks & wire weight
Adams Gray dubbing
Yellow "Life Cycle" dubbing
Pheasant or Turkey Tails
Brown Saddle Hackle
Grizzly Saddle Hackle
Peacock Herl
Calf Tail
Copper Ultra Wire
Light colored Deer or Elk Hair
Brown, Black, Yellow 6/0 thread

I think you can at least come close to tying most of the classic smoky mtn flies with that list.

05-27-2011, 09:23 AM
And don't forget the head cement & thinner. You'll be using that.

No Hackle
05-27-2011, 09:42 AM
I have a traveler too, It's about 10 years old and I've not replaced the jaws yet. They are getting there though. Good advice above.

05-27-2011, 10:03 AM
Did anyone pick up on the fact that I spelled vise with a "c"?

05-27-2011, 10:20 AM
I'll admit, I could be wrong, but I am hesitant to recommend an almost $200 vise to someone just getting started.

The $10 Chinese/Indian vises included in kits are garbage, but a lot of very functional vises can be had for half or less than the price of a Renzetti. The Traveler is a great vice to be sure, but a lot of people that start tying don't stick with it. I don't think they quit because the rotary action of their starter vise doesn't index.

My first vise was a Griffin Superior 1A. Hook changes are slow but I used it a long time before upgrading. The ability to rotate the fly is something I think I was really missing in this vice however; I would suggest a vise with basic rotation, not necessarily true rotary.

There is an excellent review of a lot of vises here:

Based on both this review, and trying a lot of these vises before upgrading to my current vise (Peak); I would suggest one of these two vises for a beginer:

$40 BPS Crown Vise (Regal knockoff) or a $80 Danica Danvise.

My 2 cents,

05-27-2011, 10:45 AM



05-27-2011, 12:13 PM
I agree with Matt that if you don't have an unlimited budget, there are a lot of good vises to be had that are less than $100. the danvise is one. I love my griffin spider. I started on a cheap starter kit vise, and once I upgraded to the spider it was a world of difference. I've tied big 5/0 bass flies to size 22 midges on it. Its easy to adjust and get the hooks in and out. Best of all its only $85.

I was really glad I got a DVD to watch someone tying as I followed along. It was a huge help. The dvd's at bass pro are only $10 I think, and are pretty good for the basics. After that, there are a ton of online videos and tutorials.

05-27-2011, 02:16 PM
I wouldn't start out by wasting money on dvds or books. There are tons of great "how to" videos on the world wild web. You can spend the saved money on green chenille and rubber legs.

05-27-2011, 10:42 PM
Thanks fellas for all the helpful advice, I'll check into the suggestions. If anyone has anything else feel free to post up. Thanks!

05-28-2011, 10:58 AM
http://www.cabelas.com/product/Fishing/Fly-Fishing/Fly-Tying/Tools-Vises|/pc/104793480/c/104721480/sc/104340780/i/103884480/Cabelas-Super-II-Vise/741768.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Ffishi ng-fly-fishing-fly-tying-tools-vises%2F_%2FN-1100441%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_103884480%3FWTz_l%3DSBC%253Bcat104793 480%253Bcat104721480%253Bcat104340780&WTz_l=SBC%3Bcat104793480%3Bcat104721480%3Bcat10434 0780%3Bcat103884480

This $20 vise got me by for years. I recently upgraded to a Peak vise ($150) after the Cabela's vise's jaw started to get chewed up. The quality of the vice has little to do with the quality of the fly.

I hope your are not getting into fly tying to save money, like I did. It isn't going to happen.